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Everything posted by MatthewVanitas

  1. Sorry, busy week moving back to Austin. I've just emailed you (keyword "banana" so you know it's really me) so you can edit out your email from your post now.
  2. Dangit, give me a day or two to clear a little space so you can PM me; I think there's also a button that will just let you email me directly, feel free to use that if that works too.
  3. Have you tried starting really, really basic on accompanying singing? For just starting out, I'd recommend literally just doing a drone, like if you're singing in D just finger the lowest D and A and just let those hum while you sing over it. Then once you feel comfortable there, try some simple three-chord songs, just two buttons per chord, and see if you can change chords at the right time. It takes a little knack, but Anglo concertina is an outstanding instrument for accompanying your singing. So far as 20 vs 30, don't underestimate the 20b if you don't need to play in a huge variety of keys, especially if you're mostly accompanying folk singing. Also if you want to upgrade your 20b to a vintage box, a vintage 20b (or 22b, 24b, etc) is way, way, way less costly than a 30b since the Irish players snatch all those up. So consider when you upgrade getting a vintage box with 20-some notes if you're using it for relatively uncomplex folk requirements.
  4. I'll admit I was briefly tempted, but it's not cheap-cheap and I have tons of squeezeboxes and other gear. Also, to riff on Indian Jones: "It. Belongs. In. Newfoundland!"
  5. Nighthawk, whether I get Lyle's or no, I could sell you the Lachenal 35b for what I have into it (and I'll cover shipping costs from Colombia since I need it back in the US anyway). My musician friend who's borrowing it says a few notes are a little sticky on the reeds but he didn't want to open it and try to get any loose fluff or dust out; if you like I can have it mailed to Greg Jowaisas for a tune-up if you want to pay those costs, or if you want to just do very simple owner-level maintenance and see how it works for you I can have my American friend in Colombia just mail it to you directly. I paid $530 for mine, and then had it tuned and serviced by Greg, but I can do you the same $530 on it if that price works for you; no extra charge for the Greg work or the shipping, but Customs may or may not hit you with some small fee but I can try marking the package as being a return of a previously-US item coming back from a loan. Let me know if interested. I'll eventually track down a 35, 42, or 48 Crane for myself but I'm in no hurry since I'm busy with my Hayden these days.
  6. No worries, I need to get around to it; mainly I do some covers by songs by acts like Iyaz and Akon; come to think of it my selection leans to West African and Afro-Caribbean R&B singers, and I do some bubblegum doo-wop covers and all. That and mostly Celtic-influenced stuff; less dance tunes because (in my hands at least) a Duet just isn't agile enough to do pub session stuff, but it works wonders for drony harmonium-like stuff on slow airs, backing ballads, etc.
  7. Happy to be back in DC, albeit briefly! Enjoying the DC Brau beer, oyster happy hours, and Ben's Chili Bowl. I didn't get to do too much serious music stuff in West Africa, other than enjoying local drum traditions and choir singing. For myself I mostly played tinwhistle and a little Swedish bagpipes. Regarding my earlier post about trying to popularize concertina in Liberia, I'm giving that up for now as not sustainable enough, just no way to get spare parts in or to get more instruments short of buying a crate from China (and even that not very affordable to the local economy). But next time I go over I want to bring some nylon strings (or fish-line), some guitar tuners, piezo pickups and other small parts, and have local woodworkers make me some solid-body electric lyres and donate a few of those to local music clubs, some bands in my area, etc. Electrical is really the way to go since the main genres in Liberia are hip-hop and reggae, mostly rapping over recorded tracks, or with a drum trap-set (only sometimes local hand drums) and electric keyboard. Liberia used to have a rich lyre tradition until modern instruments killed it off, so even though the lyres I'm envisioning aren't the exact same (but are just easier to build) I think that can give folks a chance to try enriching their sound with an instrument that can keep up with the electric trends, and be accessible to musicians in a field where currently there just aren't many melodic instruments.
  8. Good deal, that helps a ton! Okay, so you have some cheapie 20b Anglos, but you want a better-quality vintage concertina with real wood and classic concertina reeds (all modern cheapies use accordion reeds in a concertina body). Are you finding the 20 buttons you have now to be plenty for what you play, or are you wanting to be playing in a wider range of keys? If you're fine with what you have, my hands-down recommendation since you're in the US would be to contact Greg Jowaisas (http://www.gregsfolkmusic.com/) and ask what he has for 20b Anglos. I can't speak for his current stock, but in the past he's had some good refurbished vintage stuff in the $500 range, and for just a little more you can get some really nice little firecrackers of 20bs. If you feel slightly constrained by 20b, there are 22, 24, etc. button Anglos that give you the ability to play in a few more keys but are still notably less expensive than the 30b Anglos (which are in high demand for Irish music). Again, Greg is your man in either case, carries cool stuff, does his own repairs and refurbishment, and is all around just a great guy. Out of curiosity, when you say "American classics" what era are you talking about? Like Civil War era tunes, Tin Pan alley, or what? You've got me intrigued, and I bet several of us here would like to see any examples of your playing since it's always cool to see how different people approach the concertina. Definitely update the thread when you get your next concertina, sounds exciting!
  9. Nighthawk has dibs, but Friar if he doesn't buy yours first shoot me a line. I have a Lachenal 35b Crane right now and wouldn't mind something a little finer if the price is right! And/or if I get Friar's I can cut Nighthawk a deal on mine; it's in Colombia right now but I'm having it shipped back.
  10. For any of those here I've corresponded with and are amused by my misadventures, we're wrapping up our main project in West Africa, and I'm back in DC where I'm packing up all my gear to move to my home in Austin which I'll make my permanent base for the next few years of (lesser and briefer) travel. Exactly as feared, the roof in my apartment leaked while I was gone (none of my stuff damaged thankfully) so I feel very wise for having a 'cellist friend babysit my Morse Beaumont while I was gone! Glad to have it back and get reacquainted, spent the morning playing some R&B pop covers and some Irish airs. That aside I have the following concertina things going on in my life: - have a cheapie Italian English I got for under $100 on eBay, and this afternoon am having coffee with a State Dept. friend who wants to borrow it for a while and see if English is for him - got a plastic-bodied Stagi 20b Anglo in Austin (never managed to get it to Africa...) so that can be my beater for taking to the park. - know a budding concertina builder in Europe who's planning to build me a tiny Hayden modeled after the old Wheatstone Duett; might take a while for that to happen, but I'm patient - I still own a Lachenal 35b Crane Duet down in Bogotá; I left it there thinking I'd be back before too long but it's been over a year. A mathematician friend (who is also a CBA player) is babysitting it and will send it back either to me or to a member here who may buy it so I can upgrade. - I'm on Wim's waitlist for the last two years for a custom 46b Hayden; there's a member here in Texas who I've met before so now that I'm moving to Austin I'll finally have my chance to compare the Beaumont side-by-side with the Wakker and decide if I'm ready to commit the funds now that the startup is paying off - I plan to try playing concertina in the park more, maybe do some light busking and donate the money to charity, just whatever to expose more people to concertina. Might see if any local venues need someone to just sit in the corner and riff on Duet during events, just to keep my busy and out there. - I'm carefully watching the discussion about MIDI concertinas; if anyone comes up with a decently marketable prototype I'd be thrilled to buy one so I can take it traveling, practice silently in hotels and not fret about thousands of dollars rusting and mildewing in the tropical heat Separate from all the above, I'm considering making a little "instrument lending library" at my house in Austin. I could put up a blog listing cheap and replaceable weird instruments I have, and offer folks to borrow them if they put down a cash deposit, fully returnable after their month is up. So an Austin musician who wants to play with an Anglo, an autoharp, or whatever would just have to deposit the money, play for a month, and get all their money back. That way they can try new things without permanently committing funds, and I'm still covered if they flake and fail to return it. Folly, or a fun way to get more music ideas out there? If I do start it up, and the concertinas prove popular, I'll post a WTB ad here asking for anyone who has a beater Stagi (English or Anglo) sitting around who wants to sell it to me and I'll keep it in circulation! So that's me and my life with concertinas at this point!
  11. darticus, it'd help immensely if you let us know what kind of concertina you're interested in (Anglo, English, or Duet), your rough budget, and what kind of music you intend to play. At one end if want an Anglo just to accompany your singing, you can find a decent cheapie Stagi 20b for $100 if you ask around and do a little easy/unskilled cleanup on it. I bought a nicer vintage Jones 20b Anglo for $600 that was great, and if you want an English for playing intricate melodies or jazz or classical you can find vintage ones around that range too, or usable beginner plywood cheapies for around $300 or so. Give us a little more detail as to what you're looking for and we can advise better.
  12. Other folks here know the story far better than I, but my outsider's impression is that although the English was primarily a classical/"cultured" instrument and the Anglo the working-man's concertina, during the 1960s folk revival a number of English folk musicians taught themselves the English rather than the Anglo, leading to a likely ahistorical but still lovely playing style. For examples of this, check out the playing of Alf Edwards (who routinely backed up singer A. L. Lloyd). John Roberts (who often performed with Tony Barrand) played both English and Anglo. The Australian Danny Spooner does great solo work singing with the English as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DegONENQU8U Louis Killen did a lot of sea songs, and accompanied himself on English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkFDumCUYXM I started and a number of us compiled a list of musicians known for playing concertina along with singing, without other instrumentation. This thread has a bunch of suggestions as well as some YouTube links: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=16036
  13. Daniel, there appears to be an error in the URL you give, try this instead: http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/reviews/rushayden.htm In case you can't access the link, here's the text: I'll send a forum message to another member here that should know a lot about this project.
  14. I'll just submit that C# is an innovation of Lucifer to mislead musicians from playing in F, C, and G as per Divine Plan. That is all. Or, at the opposite end of the social spectrum: "key is a social construct of no objective validity". Interpret as per your social wonts.
  15. I haven't tried it on concertina (and I play Duet system, so yet a whole 'nother thing) but my favorite Cajun tune to play on other instruments has been the waltz "Jolies Joues Roses" also called "Chères Joues Roses". It's got this gorgeous turn to a minor chord that really grabs me. Here's a pretty good version (with some fine triangle work) and a good fiddle part: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG44OQ9mi8c The neat thing about doing Cajun fiddle parts on the EC is that you can be easily backed up by a buddy with even basic guitar skills to do the accompaniment, so a simple way to be doing some cool duets.
  16. While on the topic, this is one of the only clips I've been able to find on YouTube of anyone playing Cajun music on the concertina (in this case a 20-button Anglo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ob5OAEuW1pI Bullethead, one suggestion since you play English-system concertina: in some past threads on Irish music on the EC, some folks have suggested that rather than try to imitate the stylings of the Anglo on the EC, it makes more sense to instead imitate the fiddle, flute, or uillean pipes on the EC, since its attributes are more conducive to those stylings than the Anglo is. That being the case, perhaps you might find some good simple Cajun fiddle pieces and try playing them melodically (with some double-stops and drones) on the EC, as a fiddler would, whereas an Anglo player like the woman in the clip would tend to instead imitate the 1-row Cajun accordion on an Anglo?
  17. Gary, is there any plan to offer any of these books as ebooks? I'm trying to cut down on paper books since I travel a lot, plus the cost savings of not having to print and store physical books must be of some use, especially for small-run specialized works like yours. I'm about to get the ebook version of the Essential Guide to the Irish Flute and Tin Whistle. I owned a paper copy, but it's 500 pages and weighs over three pounds, so no way I'm hauling that out to the boondocks. I'll be much happier being able to fit both my instrument (3-piece takedown tin whistle) and a huge extensive book for it in the same trouser pocket.
  18. One thing I've found really convenient when reassembling Stagi concertinas, when some buttons just won't slide into their hole as I place the end on: I use the eraser end of a mechanical pencil, since it "grips" the plastic really well, making it easier to slide the button a bit to the side to slide into the hole, when normal tools just can't get a purchase on the slick surface.
  19. I'd be wary of going too-cheap on such an instrument; it'd be vexing to be a week out of port and end up chucking your cheapie over the side when it starts falling apart! Different environment than yours, but I exposed my Concertina Connection Elise (cousin to the Rochelle you're considering) to Afghanistan for half a year and it came through just fine. I wasn't necessarily playing it in sandstorms or throwing it out of helicopters or anything, but it was being stored in drafty barracks tents, being played in dusty rural military camps, bouncing around in a thin case wrapped up in my clothes in a seabag as I moved around from base to base, etc and held up well. Though in your case you'd have a lot less issue with dust, some similar issue with temperature swings, and more with corrosion and humidity I didn't bring my CC Elise with me here to West Africa, partly because I've had it in storage with my other worldly goods, but I am having a Stagi-Brunner PL-42 plastic-bodied 20b Anglo concertina shipped over from the US; got it cheap used on eBay. I have no idea if the plastic body will at all hold up better under Liberia's humidity and whatnot, but I've been meaning to mess with one anyway and it was cheap enough to roll the dice on, so hopefully by the end of the year or so I should have it out here in the bush in West Africa. Now, if you want something high-quality and durable but not risking a vintage instrument, at the risk of being self-serving we do have a thread going for my "Modern Campaign Concertina" idea. Basically I'm working on commissioning a project from the startup Holden Concertinas for a small square 24b Duet concertina made with stuff like carbon-fibre frame, anodized metal ends, plexiglass reedblocks, etc. I think I have dibs in line, but if the idea absolutely sings to you, perhaps Alex might be able to execute essentially the same design in a 24b Anglo? It wouldn't be Stagi-cheap, but it could be reasonably affordable, considerably more durable than vintage, but something nice enough that you'd actually want to play it other than just on the boat. I'm just glad to see another person taking the concertina to exiting locales! "Campaign Concertina" thread: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=18081&page=1
  20. Something to bear in mind for later along in this process, since this piece is mostly for self-enjoyment and is limited in keys, would it make sense to tune it to a "sweetened" temperament rather that Equal Temperament, something like a Quarter-Comma Meantone based around C or G?
  21. I'm certainly fine with either titanium or aluminum, both of which as I understand it become even more durable with anodizing. I suppose the sheer number of 150+ year-old concertinas that have delicate carved wooden ends which *haven't* broken out is an indication that it's a workable method, but there's something that always makes me cringe at those little splinter-able curly bits in wooden fretting, worrying when they will eventually snap off. For reeds, my vague impression is that the old bronze reeds were more prone to going out of tune and/or breaking than steel, but would modern phosphor bronze have that problem? I don't have a great need for volume since this instrument is mostly for playing alone for fun, vocal accompaniment, maybe jamming with a guitarist, so quieter bronze reeds wouldn't be a problem if they still have durability. But if durability is suspect, I'm fine with a steel that's not over-prone to corrosion.
  22. Yikes, frightening stuff! I've seen Dymond Wood used for Irish flutes and whistles before, pretty stuff. Dana, do you have any images which help explain this idea?
  23. Ooooh, I love the look of the Lachenal metal-ended Maccann duets with the bone buttons! It's full-on my favorite aesthetic of all vintage concertinas.
  24. So carbon fiber in direct contact with the aluminum ends would be prone to galvanic corrosion, but should it be fine to use a CF soundboard since it is secured to the plexiglass frame and not the metal ends? Three rows of 5, Anglo style, would add slightly more range and chromaticity, though the downside is that you need 6 buttons per row to get the normal fully chromatic Hayden (rows of seven are nice for adding an enharmonic), so for me personally a 3x5 would be "neither fish nor fowl", adding some bulk but still not a full keyboard. Mainly asking as a way to use the exact same body design for Anglo and Hayden, or some other angle? Since the current thought is to make this with trad reeds, there's some incentive to stick to reed-economical layouts (within reason). That is, if I were wanting this same instrument in Anglo, I'd prefer a 24 to a 30 for reed costs, keeping size down, and because I don't need a ton of flexibility of key on an Anglo (I've mostly owned 20b Anglos).
  25. Talked it over some more, and current thought is to make the sides of the frame out of carbon fibre, then clearcoat it to prevent scuffing. With the aluminum ends it should make for a cool modern look. Digging into more metalwork ideas by googling up modern architects, and especially Gaudi has some good inspiration fodder. If it doesn't throw off the plan too much, I have a slight modification to the notes to suggest based on my fiddling around with the Duettina app; confining myself to just 12 notes a side in finding that I almost never use the highest F#, so instead of 4-4-4 we could do 3-5-4 to get me a C# on each side: C D E F G A B C# C D E F# That makes the key of D an option in two octaves, and just sacrifices the highest note and one overlapping note.
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